Sandra Bland’s funeral took place in Illinois on Saturday, just about two weeks after her death in a Texas jail. The services were held at the DuPage African Methodist Episcopal Church, and hundreds gathered to support the family.
As People shares, Sandra Bland’s funeral was attended by hundreds of family members, friends, and supporters. The church is said to have 400 seats, but so many showed up to pay their respects that the church’s basement and lobby were filled with loved ones and supporters, as well. Some wore shirts with messages supporting the inquest into what happened to Bland, and Sandra’s family wore white.
During Sandra Bland’s funeral, her mother, Geneva Reed-Veal, delivered a passionate eulogy. Bland’s family and friends, who called her Sandy, maintain that she would not have killed herself and they say that their confidence is shaken when it comes to what the investigation has detailed so far.
Despite the grief and questions related to Sandra’s death, Bland’s funeral reportedly incorporated uplifting moments, as well. Charles Blow, via the New York Times, details that there was a choir at the service, and Sandra’s mother danced through every song. In addition, one of Sandra’s cousins did a praise dance during the gathering.
Pastor James F. Miller said as follows.
“This is not a moment of defeat; this is a moment of victory. We’re not funeralizing a martyr or a victim; we’re celebrating a hero!”
Many questions remain over Bland’s death, as those close to her maintain that she was a passionate, strong, fearless activist who was happy, settled, and determined. Reed-Veal indicated during the funeral that she was going to take the weekend to relax, as she put it, but once Monday hit, she would be back to digging into the details to try to determine what exactly happened to her daughter.
Bland was arrested after a traffic stop in Waller County, Texas, on July 10. On July 13, Sandra was found dead in her jail cell, with authorities indicating that she had killed herself. The official autopsy released just ahead of Sandra Bland’s funeral ruled her death a suicide, but the family has indicated that they do not believe that the full story has been told as of yet.
Those who support the family and believe that there are still outstanding questions that need to be answered have signed MoveOn and Change.org petitions asking for a federal investigation into Bland’s death. As My Fox Chicago details, Senator Dick Durbin has reached out to U.S. Attorney General Loretta Lynch asking for a federal investigation, as well. Though Lynch has now spoken publicly about Bland’s death, so far, no official federal investigation has been launched.
Those who attended Sandra Bland’s funeral make it clear that they are not going to quietly go away. Rather, they will continue to speak out and ask for answers, and from the looks of things, they have a great deal of support.
[Photo by Jonathan Gibby / Getty Images]